Elite Athlete Program offers scholarship boost ahead of 2032 Brisbane Olympics

New scholarships aim to ease the financial burden on students who are both elite athletes and university students.


New scholarships are to be awarded to Queenslanders in the name of easing the financial burden on students who are both elite athletes and university students.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) announced five $10,000 scholarships for 2024.

QUT’s Sports Performance Lead Dr Rian Crowther says these scholarships will be essential to help build a body of Queensland talent over the next decade in the lead-up to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The financial burden that comes with combining study with elite training can be overwhelming and may force athletes to compromise their education or sporting ambitions as a result,” he told EducationDaily.

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“It’s wonderful that the university is able to help our future sports starts to navigate this journey as nobody knows what the future holds for them, but these athletes have already recognised the holistic athlete development benefits that come with combining their studies with the sporting ambitions.”

Partnering with the QAS, he says, “specifically ensures that funds are efficiently directed towards athletes who demonstrate the potential for success in their respective sports, thereby optimising the development pathway towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympic games”.

Combining academic and sporting excellence

The QAS hopes to use these scholarships to identify and select athletes on the trajectory to achieve success, with CEO Chelsea Warr saying the scholarships would empower athletes to balance their sporting and academic ambitions.

“With the upcoming Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympic Games, it’s a particularly pivotal moment for institutions like QUT to demonstrate their unwavering support for elite athletes, contributing to their success on the world stage and celebrating their achievements as ambassadors of Australia,” she says.

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“The financial burden of elite training can be overwhelming, often forcing athletes to compromise their education or even their athletic careers. Scholarships, such as the QUT Elite Athlete Scholarship, can provide the crucial financial relief that allows athletes to focus on their training and competition.”

Ms Warr says the new scholarship program aligned with one of the academy’s key strategic goals – to provide QAS-supported athletes with career and education opportunities to develop transition pathways.

“Having these pathways ensures athletes have a holistic approach to their well-being and identified future career opportunities once their athletic careers have concluded,” she says.

Identifying rising stars helps Australia go for gold

Each year, QUT sports scholarships already on offer include 10 QUT-AIS Scholarships and five QUT Elite Athlete Scholarships, each worth $10,000.

Rising Sports Scholarships that provide $5000 in assistance are also available.

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Director of Sport at QUT, Emily Rosemond, says recipients become part of the QUT Elite Athlete Program, which boasts more the 300 members.

“This partnership ensures best practice in identifying and supporting talent at the pinnacle of sport in Queensland – athletes who are on a trajectory toward achieving national and international success in their chosen sport,” she says.

High-performance sport can be a costly pursuit

“By partnering with the Queensland Academy of Sport, QUT will ensure developing athletes recognised by the peak body for Queensland high-performance sport receive additional funding to support both their sport and academic endeavours.

“We see the long-term benefits for athletes in developing holistically. That means they’re not only physically strong and skilled in their sport, but also mentally resilient, emotionally balanced, and socially connected, fostering a well-rounded and sustainable foundation for success both on and off the field.”

Dr Rian Crowther adds to this, saying there is much more QUT is doing to help support elite athletes ahead of the games.

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“These scholarship holders will not only receive financial support but academic and facility support from our Elite Athlete Program, which offers flexible study arrangements, priority tutorial timetabling and free use of our gyms and pools,” he told EducationDaily.

“For those students that need it, the Elite Athlete Program will help them navigate their study journey so they can keep up with study and training commitments. This program is in constant development and has done work to identify and take action on improving the health and wellbeing aspects of student-athletes while they are competing and studying.”

Local industry can create winning work opportunities

Dr Crowther says QUT has been working with industry partners to create flexible working opportunities.

“So, the athletes can continue to balance their commitments and support their sporting ambitions when they are no longer students,” he told EducationDaily.

“If your organisation would like to access the 300+ student athletes studying at QUT, then please reach out to the elite athlete team via the QUT website. These students often present a unique skill set of dedication, focus, time management, communication, and teamwork that they have developed from being in a high-performance environment and that is extremely valuable to a future employer.”

Scholarships support sporting champions

Dr Crowther says she hopes these scholarships help build a strong team of athletes ahead of the games, and a sense of pride in the Queensland and Australian community.

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“Of course, there is a real sense of pride building as the games approach,” he told EducationDaily.

“There is much work to be done to ensure all Australians are proud of the team that competes during these games, but this does not happen overnight and takes years of dedication from the athletes and their support team.

“Representation is not guaranteed for all athletes but having them strive to achieve and giving them the opportunity to be able to do this is all we can do to give them their best shot.”

He hopes Aussies will cheer on from home.

“I would encourage all Australians to engage with their sports interest, cheer on their local heroes and follow their journeys,” he told EducationDaily.

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“Our sports stars love this, and you may even find yourself inspired to get out there and participate at a community level, improving your own health and well-being. I have done this myself, and it really puts these athletes’ talents in perspective.”

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